The Shamrocks scored off a penalty kick, a corner kick and on a rebound off a free kick in earning a 3-2 triumph over Oldham County in a battle between the Nos. 3 and 4 teams in the state in Buckner.
“It was a hard-fought game, scrappy game by both teams in scrappy conditions,” Trinity coach Dale Helfrich said. “Our guys do what they do, they persevere and got the result. Oldham County, they’re a good team, and they gave us everything we wanted.”
The matchup between one of the top-scoring teams in the state (the Colonels came in averaging 5.6 goals per game) and one of the top defensive teams (Trinity entered allowing only one goal per game) was one-sided for one half. Fourth-ranked Trinity (14-1-2) led 2-0 at intermission before the Colonels (11-2-3) rallied to make it interesting.
The Shamrocks got off to a good start, scoring in the sixth minute of the match. That’s when David Mueller kicked in a rebound of Greg Fischer’s free kick that Oldham County goalkeeper David Gonzales could never cleanly collect.
Trinity made it 2-0 in the 15th minute when the Colonels were whistled for a hand ball in the box off a Fischer corner kick. The senior standout then put away the penalty kick for his 11th goal of the season.
“(Our goal) right from the beginning was to just to get after it, play our style,” Shamrocks defender Drew Goetz said. “Some games this season with some of the bigger teams that have come in, we’ve kind of let them come to us, but tonight we really wanted get after it first.”
Oldham County’s frustrations quickly became palpable. The Colonels were arguing amongst themselves on the field and were issued three yellow cards in the first half.
“They’re a tempermental team. They’re an emotional team. They’ve got a lot of kids that care a lot, and it showed,” Helfrich said. “They were kind of at the tipping point there, but we couldn’t get that third one to kind of put them away. But we knew it was going to be an 80-minute game whether we let them score once or twice or five or six, it was just a matter of we’ve got to out work them and score more than they did.”
Oldham County regrouped at halftime, though, and responded early in the second half.
Jonathan Huerta’s penalty kick, on the heels of a hand ball in the box, trimmed Trinity’s lead to one less than four minutes into the second half.
“We had a pretty interesting halftime talk,” Colonels coach Alan Morel said. “I just told them I was disappointed. Their behavior prevented us from playing. I think they got the message.”
However it didn’t take long – 38 seconds to be exact – for the Shamrocks to respond. That’s when Goetz headed home Fischer’s corner to make it 3-1.
“I think the past three games now it’s been set pieces for us,” Goetz said. “We’ve just been working on those in practice, staying disciplined on our runs and finding the right ball.
“Great ball by Greg, it was just right there for me to tap in.”
Oldham County cut it to 3-2 with just under 12 minutes to play when Jeff Thomas snuck a right-footer in the box past Thomas Kolb.
The Colonels, though, couldn’t get the equalizer.
“It’s a good thing that we lost, because I wouldn’t like to win the way we had a meltdown in the first half,” Morel said. “You deserve to lose if you only play one half, and we only played one half.”
–Trinity 3 (David Mueller, Greg Fischer, Drew Goetz), Oldham County 2 (Jonathan Huerta, Jeff Thomas)